students build school gardens

Young minds grow along with school garden



Third-graders at the Academy For Integrated Arts worked together this spring to create a garden classroom. As one of the winners of the I AM HERE youth photo contest, the class won a total of $1,000 dollars for promoting student wellness.

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The school’s mission is to provide their students with a safe environment to learn conventionally and creatively. Their mission and vision is that the arts will serve as a catalyst for learning, achievement, curiosity and self esteem within these students lives.

The Academy For Integrated Arts is one of many schools working toward a more health promoting campus by advocating for healthier foods and a healthier learning environment as well.

By using their resources and working together with Kansas City Community Gardens and KC Healthy Kids, Miss Andrea Davis’s third grade class made the conscious decision to add four garden beds to their campus.

The school sits in the heart of a food desert next to a gas station/liquor store, with the nearest grocery store being miles away.

“This contest not only raised our students’ awareness of how their surroundings impact their health, but it helped us use the art of photography to teach them to be advocates and community leaders, too,” said Tricia DeGraff, principal.

A small building tucked away in the middle of Troost this school is camouflaged but the greenery located in front of the school is sure to call attention to these kid’s efforts.

By planning and learning about what’s to be planted according to season the children are expanding their knowledge about how to grow and care for not only fruit and vegetables but also the overall wellbeing of themselves and their community.

“I think the most exciting thing for the children is being able to make connections. We’ve been studying other parts of the world and how we can grow our own food. They have been excited to help the community,” Davis says.

Because building and planting the garden beds won’t cost the class the whole $1,000 the children have made a list of supplies they would like including recess equipment, cleaning supplies, research utensils and pay for a yoga teacher. Third-graders at the Academy For Integrated Arts are using their resources and knowledge to help build a healthier learning environment as well as community awareness announcing that they are, in fact, here.

By Melanie Mabry, UMKC Communications Intern 2015

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